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There are so many expressions in English that use the word ‘hand’- definitely more than a handful! (Waah waaah, sorry for the pun!).
Instead of writing a big long list, I want to focus on a few hand idioms that generally mean “being a help” or “helping out.” When you learn new vocabulary or phrases, it is always a good idea to connect or group new words into themes or categories to help you make lasting connections in your memory.
Read on to practice 6 common ways to use the word ‘hand’ in English when talking about helping out.
1. Lend (someone) a hand
When you lend someone a hand, you help them out with some kind of work. You are giving the use of your hands (or hand) and lending your time.
Example: The living room is so messy! Let’s pick up together. Lend me a hand, would you?
2.Give (someone) a hand
Giving someone a hand also means helping out with some kind of work. We commonly use this expression to ask for help.
Example: Give me a hand, would you? I have to move this table and it’s really heavy.
3. Have a free hand
To have a free hand means to be available to help. You can use this expression to ask someone to help you. This is even more polite than example #1 or #2 above.
Example: Do you happen to have a free hand? I can’t figure out how to fix this program on my computer.
4. Hold someone’s hand
You can literally hold someone’s hand, like parents with their child or boyfriends and girlfriends. Holding someone’s hand (as an idiom/expression) means helping someone with a project by explaining every step of the process. When you hold someone’s hand in this way you give them very active and long-term help until the project or event is over.
Example: My mom held my hand through every part of my science project. I couldn’t have finished it without her.
5. Hand (something) to (someone)
We often use this expression to mean “pass something to me, please.” If you only remember one of the expressions from this article, remember (and use!) this one!
Example: (while eating dinner) Would you hand me the bread, please?
6. A helping hand
When someone is very helpful and kind, we call them a helping hand. This expression is also commonly used when looking for volunteers to help with a project.
Example: (teacher to students) I need some helping hands to pass out all these papers. Who would like to help?
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Are you ever a helping hand? Who do you most often lend a hand to? Try and use these expressions in the comments below for practice!
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